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Live Wire!

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Album Review

Live Wire! is actually pretty much a straight reissue of Phil Baugh's mid-'60s LP Country Guitar, with a different title, historical liner notes, and one bonus cut (the 1966 single "One Man Band"). While Baugh's quick, fluent picking is justifiably compared to virtuosos such as Jimmy Bryant, Baugh's not quite the same. He's speedy, but a little more relaxed, not quite as jazzy, and a little more rock-influenced, if only because of the mid-'60s times in which these sides were produced. Also, he didn't stick to wholly instrumental outings on these tracks, with about half the material including vocals by pleasant but journeyman honky tonk singer Vern Stovall. It's a good though not stunning collection of performances, spearheaded by the country novelty single "Country Singer," in which Baugh imitated many top guitarists, from Merle Travis and Les Paul to Duane Eddy. While the instrumentals tend to have the flashier soloing, the songs with Stovall vocals aren't bad by any means; "Good Times" and "Brand New World," in fact, are quite respectable hard honky tonk numbers.


Born: 1936 in Olivehurst, CA

Genre: Country

Years Active: '60s

Phil Baugh was one of the best session guitarists in Nashville during the 1970s and '80s. Born and raised in Northern California, he began playing guitar and performing in churches as a child, which led to band and nightclub gigs. He got his first big break playing with Ray Price, who helped him get a recording contract with Longhorn Records in Dallas. In 1964 Baugh and Vern Stovall recorded the album Country Guitar, which contained two major hits, "Country Guitar" and "One Man Band." In 1965 he...
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Live Wire!, Phil Baugh
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